I have had a hard time coming to a decision in the past on whether or not I personally view poverty as a human rights violation, yet after reading over the UDA, especially articles 22- 27, I have finally come to my conclusion. My main argument comes from article 25 which states that every person should have "the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family." This I think is clearly not true in the case of most people whom I would consider impoverished.
I must admit that I am not an expert on the different divisions that exist between the “lower class” and the “impoverished,” yet I will offer my understanding of the latter by positing that those living without homes or in projects are indeed “impoverished,” and further, they are experiencing a human rights violation. My most recent encounter with this world of poverty comes from an extremely well-written book entitled Gangleader for a Day, by Sudhir Venkatesh, who at the time was a rogue sociologist who immersed himself into the Robert Taylor project in Chicago. In his book, Vankatesh explores the inner world of the poverty stricken Chicagoans, and how they relate to the Gangs that run/ruin/enrich their lives.
The book displayed to me the apparent truth that this human rights violation of poverty, leads to even more human rights violations, such as those acts of extreme violence taken by gangs. This in turn causes an unequal protection policy to be enforced by the government as is displayed by the lack of police activity in exceedingly dangerous areas. The gangs themselves become the justice system and the people living within their regions are subject to their rule.
So aside from the various health issues offered by projects and ghettos and the like, I would argue that this less often considered human rights issue, when violated can act as a catalyst toward more serious human rights offences. That being said, I wonder if many of the more serious offences could be remedied by providing adequate attention to the less immediate violations such as poverty. What do you think?
Personally, I would argue for the building and maintaining of living centers that have more of a chance of succeeding, and possibly and integration plan. By integration, I’m referring to an idea of trying to rebuild slum areas into places where the more privileged would benefit as well from moving into, while still setting up these new living conditions for the impoverished allowing for the two stark worlds of impoverished and the more privileged to coincide. This may be the idealist in me, but I believe that privileged people being forced to face poverty on a regular basis and close to home would tend to connect more with those experiencing it and possibly begin to make moves toward helping. Not only that but they would have the personal want to keep their neighborhood on the up-and-up and thus would have incentive to keep the area nicer.